I have often wondered whether it's possible to use automatic car washes at sub-zero (Celsius) freezing temperatures. I believe the water used in the car wash is heated in these cold temperatures. So it's not like the car would be washed with ice!

But is there a risk that the water freezes someplace it shouldn't, leading to a frozen door, non-working brakes or something similar?

Is there a limit for the temperature where car wash is still possible? I mean, -5 degrees Celsius probably is fine, but is -30 degrees Celsius? I know modern fluids (motor oil, coolant, washer fluid) in cars work just fine even at -30 degrees Celsius.

1 Answer 1


I go through car washes more often in the winter than I do in the summer, since I want to wash the road salt off as frequently as possible. I've never had an issue. I don't think I've gone through at -30c since we rarely get that low here (Toronto, Canada) but I've certainly done -15 to -20 without any problems (yet...) Automatic carwashes should have a blower at the end to dry the bulk of the water off, drive through that portion slowly to get as much of the water off as possible.

Since you drive away after the car wash, water in any moving parts should be expelled quickly, or at least move enough to prevent solid ice from forming. I wouldn't wash it and then immediately park after, if you do that you are probably more likely to experience stuck doors and the like.

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